Sunday, October 30, 2005

THE PEOPLE, YES! Having had some fun with Peggy Noonan's shirt-rending over the intransigence of our elites, I was interested to see the Ole Perfesser's counterlinks under the headline "Cheer Up."

One is from a blogbrother who had addressed a State Legislature*, and thought enough of what he had said to quote his own remarks in defense of a brighter vision of the future. First, he told the legislators, his wife the waitress could probably get them a table at the restaurant at which she worked faster than "professional lobbyists" could. In a similar way, the author had been able to get a local newspaper to post a correction online, "leading thousands of readers — interested readers, connected readers — to my argument. " And a friend of his had been asked to appear as a conservative commentator on TV, even though he was not a "bow-tied professor." (Note it well, ides-markers: Republicans in Chinos!)

Perhaps sensing that these portents by themselves would not convince, the author told the legislators about Dan Rather and the forensic typesetters whose skills were unleashed by the power of the blogosphere. He did not compare them to the taxi-drivers of the Marne, but the point was clear enough: just as his wife can get you into her restaurant, so humble blog-writers would simply seize the power currently held, however tenuously, by "the conceit-full Baby Boomer elites" who "have managed to secure the 'grim comfort' that 'I got mine.'"

Summarizing his own argument, the author says that
...blogs are proving that, if the functional elites are too resigned to that trouble to lead our society through it, the underclasses now have the technology — and the faculty — to pick up the slack. Maybe the sky is falling only to reveal the truer sky beyond, and in its light, we will be better able to respond to the troubles with which life — and history — accosts us all equally.
Daniel Shays couldn't have said it better. It is cheering to know that some people still think that, once their guys get the power, we can say goodbye to the elites, replaced by the protelarian masses as represented by Powerline and Ann Althouse.

As another of the Perfesser's referents puts it,
The people who will determine the future are hard at work in the real world. Some of them may be classified as belonging to some sort of "elite;" but most of them do not. They work in business and in the public sector. They are educators, doctors, sales people, farmers, clergy, and, yes, even some journalists and politicians. They are scientists and engineers.
Considering that our current elites were all created in laboratories, we may be assured that our new power-brokers will retain to an unparalleled degree a sensitivity to the needs of their law-professin', land-tillin' constituents back home.

The sentiment is near-universal, I guess. The people we elected, or whose jobs are maintained by our subscriptions, are heroes when we agree with them and turncoats when we do not.

What adds gall to these new iterations is that they are made by conservatives at a time when conservatives are in charge to a nearly unprecedented degree. The President and the Congressional majorities have impeccably conservative credentials. Business is untrammelled by the high tax rates and onerous regulations that existed when conservative power was not so great. And the profit motive, the central principle of conservative thought, is everywhere celebrated. No one believes in the redistribution of wealth except to his own pockets.

It should be paradise for these people, but it is not. So when a prominent conservative like Noonan falters, those whose faith is unshaken direct her attention to such positive harbingers as they possess. Blogs are a good one: they're everywhere, they make the news sometimes, and most importantly, they're on the internet, which is a potent and universal symbol of the magic of technology. Tech stocks may have lost their luster, but blogs, relieved of the need to generate income to prove their worth, still gleam.

And, being technological, blogs affirm our faith in other technology-based panacea: along with the Third Millenium and The End of History, some of the latter correspondent's commenters point to the Singularity, "Biotech/genomic supra-evolution," and "Off-Earth 'space culture'" -- blueprints and gizmos that will so alter our reality that all the bright hopes and dreams that have lately thudded to earth will be borne aloft, believable once again.

I don't know how these cheering messages will affect Noonan, but they gave me a laugh, albeit a grim one.

*CORRECTION. The first author, Justin Katz, spoke at a seminar attached to the National Conference of State Legislatures, not a State Legislature. Gotme!

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